With so many different styles of yoga out there, it is difficult and confusing to choose one. Not every style works for everybody, therefore, if you do not like the style you are trying now, attempt to switch to another style. The basic styles of yoga are Hatha, Vinyasa, Ashtanga, Power, Iyengar, Kundalini, and Bikram. Brief descriptions of each style are below and as you read them, see which style feels like it suits your personality and workout type the best.
Hatha – Hatha yoga is the original form of yoga and all other styles of yoga arise from Hatha. A hatha yoga class will typically have different sets of postures from one class to the next. The style itself is more gentle and therapeutic. Classes will include asanas (postures), stretching, work with the breath, and meditations. A hatha yoga class will work with flexibility, strength, and endurance. If you are not sure which style to try, Hatha is a good one to start with.
Vinyasa – Vinyasa yoga has more fluid movement to it. The style is slightly vigorous and all movement follows the breath. A typical class will be based upon a series of postures, known as Suryanamaskar or Sun Salutations.
Ashtanga – Ashtanga means eight limbs and this style of yoga is very vigorous. There are a series of poses and in an Ashtanga class, you move from one posture to the next and is considered to be physically demanding.
Power – Power yoga is very similar to Ashtanga as Power yoga is also physically very demanding. The difference is that there is no set series of postures and power yoga is designed to be more of a workout that consists of cardio, strength, and flexibility.
Iyengar – Iyengar yoga is the style that most commonly uses props. This style works in aligning the body and focuses on holding the posture for long periods of time. Sometimes, a single, one-hour class will go through only one set of sun salutations.
Kundalini – Kundalini yoga works with energy and circulating the energy from the center core throughout the body. Emphasis in the class is placed upon the breath in conjunct with the postures. The rate of the movement will follow the rate of the breath. Kundalini is also known to be the more “spiritual” style of yoga.
Bikram – Bikram yoga is hot yoga and it takes place in a heated room around 95 degrees. The theory is that sweating loosens up the joints and muscles to improve flexibility and also works as a way of cleansing the body. A typical class consists of about 26 basic postures. Bikram yoga is also a controversial style of yoga, as many health experts, including Ayurvedic practitioners question its level “healthiness,” due to its intensity and excessive exposure to heat in a closed room.
These are the basic styles of yoga and when in doubt, start with Hatha. There is a style for everyone, its just a matter of finding one that works for you.
Health and happiness,